History 231 Reading Guide

The Mid-Atlantic Colonies in the Eighteenth Century

  • Thomas L. Purvis, “Origins and Patterns of Agrarian Unrest in New Jersey, 1735-1754,” WMQ 3rd ser. 39.4 (1982): 600-627.  JSTOR
  • John Smolenski, “From Men of Property to Just Men: Deference, Masculinity, and the Evolution of Political Discourse in Early America,” Early American Studies 3.2 (2005), 253-285. JSTOR


  • According to Purvis, what simultaneous imperial and colonial administrative decisions created the contest between proprietors and freeholders over land rights in 1664?
  • How did the proprietors attempt to resolve the conflicts?
  • How did the elected representatives of the freeholders—the Elizabeth-Town Associates—challenge the proprietors?
  • Why did the conflicts turn into agrarian disturbances? What were the long-term implications of the land controversies?

Further reading:

  • Ned C. Landsman, “Revivalism and Nativism in the Middle Colonies:  The Great Awakening and the Scots Community in East New Jersey,” American Quarterly 34.2 (1982): 149-164.  JSTOR
  • Ned C. Landsman, "Roots, Routes, and Rootedness:  Diversity, Migration, and Toleration in Mid-Atlantic Pluralism," Early American Studies:  An Interdisciplinary Journal 2.2 (Fall 2004), 269-309.  Project Muse or EBSCOhost
  • How does Landsman characterize the two-stage process by which the Great Awakening influenced and shaped both the church and society in East New Jersey?
  • What groups constituted Freehold Township’s ethnically diverse population? What initial antagonisms affected their coexistence?
  • How and why did religious conflicts exacerbate those national tensions? (Consider this question in terms of the cast of characters that Landsman discusses and the particular issues and concerns that they represented.)
  • How did the population in Freehold eventually become unified?